The Banking-Sovereign Nexus: Law, Economics & Policy

This Article examines a previously overlooked policy interdependence between the International Monetary Fund (“IMF”) and the Basel Committee on Banking Supervision (“Basel Committee”), which results from economic dynamics associated with the “banking- sovereign nexus.” The main finding of this Article is that interventions by the IMF and the Basel Committee function as regulatory complements by subtly reinforcing one another through a number of channels. In order to leverage that complementarity, the Article presents the following two-part policy proposal. First, that the Basel Committee enhance the stringency of its capital requirements with an increase in the risk-weights that are assigned to sovereign bonds that banks hold as assets. Second, that the IMF revise its lending criteria to allow countries that have effectively implemented the stricter version of the Basel Rules to prequalify for access to its credit facilities.

Access to Trade Secret Environmental Information: Are TRIPS and TRIPS-Plus Obligations a Hidden Landmine?

Freedom of Information laws (“FOI laws”) are fundamental to enabling access to environmental information. This Article argues that the specificity and strength of trade secret protections in TRIPS (article 39) and TRIPS-Plus regional and bilateral free trade agreements (“FTAs”) are hidden landmines that may unravel current access-to- information regimes (e.g. FOI laws). The aim of this Article is to delineate the nature and scope of the limits that TRIPS and TRIPS-Plus regimes place on domestic access-to-environmental-information regimes for information submitted to governments.

Rights-Protection Lawyers in China: A Behavioral and Rational Choice Analysis of Lawyers in an Authoritarian State

In the summer of 2015, the Chinese Communist Party (“CCP”) detained over 200 rights-protection lawyers, a human rights violation that many observers viewed as a retreat from prior commitments to the development of the rule of law. This Note uses two theoretical frameworks—rational choice theory and behavioral law & economics—in an attempt to explain why the CCP, an authoritarian regime, would allow this movement to develop in the first instance and why, after more than a decade, the CCP reversed course.

Bilateral Investment Treaties and Domestic Institutional Reform

The bilateral investment treaties (“BITs”) signed between developed and developing countries are supposed to increase the flow of investment from the former to the latter. But the evidence indicates that the existing approach of guaranteeing special protections for foreign investors has only a modest impact on luring their dollars. This Article calls for a fundamental redesign of BITs based on empirically validated premises about how host States actually attract foreign investment. Political science and economic studies show that foreign investors place substantial weight on the quality of domestic institutions. Existing BITs fail to promote investment because they are not an adequate substitute for these institutions, nor are they effective in generating reform. The proposed model would make domestic institutional reform the organizing principle of BIT design, and the Article offers several specific provisions that would help achieve that goal.